DRIVER - review added 25th May 2012
Album Review: Countdown (2012)
For fans of: Heavy Metal
Driver was originally formed in the late 1980s with an EP soon following, but it wasn't until 2008 that debut album "Sons Of Thunder" appeared. "Countdown" is the follow-up and contains a number of newly recorded versions of songs from that early EP alongside seven new compositions.
The sound is straight ahead, mixing heavy and speed metal with Rob Rock's instantly recognizable vocals. Most of the songs are not that powerful, certainly not in the same league as Rob's solo work, nor are they monstrously quick or technically astounding, as you may find on his Impellitteri work. In fact I'm surprised how safe the album feels. It's good, don't get me wrong, but I expected big fireworks and they rarely come.
Roy Z's guitar playing is okay, though some of the solos sound like they were recorded in one take first time round, warts and all. There is rarely any oomph to what he does here, which is weird when you look at the heaviness of albums he was worked on in the past. In fact it's only the start of 'Hollywood Shooting Star' and perhaps 'Feel The Fire' and 'Babylon' that truly captures the sound I think these guys should be making.
Of the songs, 'Return To The Sky' and 'Thief in the Night' get close to being excellent, 'Cry of the Wounded' has some amazing rhythms but I can't decide if I like it as a whole or not, the ballad 'Always on my Mind' is nice, and final track 'Babylon' works well.
Rob sounds as good as ever, and actually the album is okay-ish. Just not as good as I thought it would be. Shame.
Overall (Not An Average Of The Above):
01. Return to the Sky
02. Rising Son
04. Hollywood Shooting Star
05. Thief in the Night
06. Cry of the Wounded
07. Always on my Mind
08. Feel the Fire
10. Running from the Darkness
11. Babylon (exclusive European bonus track)
Rob Rock – vocals
Roy Z – guitars
Reynold “Butch” Carlson” – drums
Ed Roth – keyboards
Aaron Samson - bass guitar